Dogs love squirrels. To no surprise, the feeling isn’t mutual from a squirrel’s perspective! Chasing squirrels is particularly common for breeds of dogs with instinctive desires to hunt. Dogs have a fantastic sense of smell which can help them track down a squirrel in no time! However, in many situations, uncontrolled chasing can lead to negative consequences.
Dogs love to hunt, and it is a natural behavior. Nature has given dogs the ability to use all of their senses, inspiring them to chase smaller creatures. When dogs see another animal running away from them, their brain is wired to respond with a chasing reaction. The critical issue here is a dog’s sense of smell. Did you know that dogs have a sense of smell between 1,000 and 10,000 times more powerful than humans? A squirrel may disappear, but your dog will continue to chase them because of their scent.
A squirrel can distract your dog on a walk. As a dog owner, you need to pay close attention to your dog, anticipate squirrels, and intercept with a distraction. We recommend a noise distraction as it is often successful and will draw attention away from the squirrel. An example of a noise distraction is clapping loudly.
The most important thing is your dog’s safety. Encouraging random chasing in public places poses dangers to the dog and other people or animals. It is best to start obedience training early on in your dog’s life to try and break the pattern of prey drive instinct. Teaching your dog how to focus on you is a necessary behavior that they must possess.